October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014

CHAMPION—October 27, 2014

        At age 8 days Carson Cline made his first visit to Champion on Sunday.  His brother, cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, grandmother and friends all enjoyed a good look at him.  He is a fine looking fellow starting out in life with a wonderful support system.  He is a real Champion!

        Halloween is just around the corner “and the goblins will get you-if-you–don’t–watch-OUT!”  It is All Hallows Eve that marks the time in the year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.  The theme of using humor and ridicule to confront the power of death shows up in the costumery and trickery, so enjoy the ridiculousness and irony with treats for the children, knowing that the sugar is not good for them.  “The Day of the Dead” in Latin American countries happily celebrates those dear departed ones with gaily painted skeletons bedecked with flowers.  In Celtic lands, the Beltane Fire Society observes Samhain on October 31st where Winter symbolically slays Summer in a great pageant full of drumming and fire and blue painted people.  Earliest Irish literature mentions the event as part of the time when preparations were being made for winter, when there were feasts where places were set at the table for souls of the dead kin.  Great bonfires were built and were thought to have healing and cleansing properties.  Certainly the Beltane Fire Society is doing its part in keeping the traditional Scottish skills of street theatre, music and pageantry alive.  The end of summer and rise of winter is celebrated in Champion with standard trick or treat fare and elaborate pumpkin art.  Locals spend time up on the wide veranda at the Historic Emporium gawking at the beauty of the season’s changing and relishing sweet memories of loved ones gone on.

        More things are visible from the road now as the leaves are falling and vegetation is wan due of the lateness of the season and the dry conditions.  Up and down the roads lately a very specialized tractor has been pruning and preening.  This instrument is operated by one of the fine gentleman of the Douglas County Road Works.  The bright green tractor has a closed in cab that is surely equipped with super safety glass sides and ‘sun roof.”  It has a blade on the back, but the main attraction is an articulated bush hog boom mower.  “Articulated” in that it has pivoting joints that allow the big chewing machine to operate overhead or at any necessary angle with maximum flexibility (“articulated” the impressed observer.)  The overgrown roadsides are now opened up so the school busses do not get scratched going through the tunnels.  In places things look rough and mangled, chewed-up, but the fallen leaves conceal some of the brush and by spring it will all be just glorious—like a bad haircut grown out again.

        Asked about the Dobbs Reunion, Laine Sutherland said that they missed Uncle Ralph Dobbs who passed away this past summer.  He was born in Bertha in Douglas County in 1922.  He graduated from Ava High School and joined the CCC.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Southwest Missouri State and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942.  He married his sweetheart, Sherry Sherwood, and they raised five daughters while he continued his education, worked as a county Extension agent, taught graduate level courses at the College of Education at MU and became a professor emeritus in 1985.  He raised top quality Registered Polled Hereford cattle.  He was active with the Central Missouri Honor Flight program.  Professor Dobbs lived to be 91 years old.  J.C. Owsley said, “R. C. was my teacher, mentor, and friend for many years. The insight into adult education and group process skills that he shared contributed to my career success. His respect for his roots, love of polled Herefords, and his sharp wit will always be remembered.”

        The extended season has some gardeners still enjoying tomatoes, peppers, beans, and greens.  One family is overrun with turnips waiting on Lem and Ned to come do some trading.  Meanwhile, the thought of year round gardening is not an original one.  Jeffrey Goss Jr. is a Chartered Herbalist who has written articles for the Countryside & Small Stock Journal concerning winter gardening.  “The 365-day Vegetable Garden, no greenhouse, no plastic, no containers, no joke!” looks like it is going to be an interesting read.  Meanwhile he suggests that “The Harris Farmer’s Almanac” is most suited to the Ozarks of all the major almanacs.  He says that the almanac is available through Shelter Insurance.  Rick DeGraffenreid of the Ava office says that they generally get the almanacs in toward the end of November and he will include their arrival in his weekly ad in the newspapers.  He says that Shelter Insurance has been giving these away since 1946, and that people in this area really rely on them.  Linda’s Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood is a compilation of Ramon’s Brownie Calendar and Blum’s Almanac.  With luck, next year the amalgam will include this new old publication.  Thanks, Jeff and Rick.

        Vanzantians were busy over the week end.  The General, his amazing wife and other family members took a stroll down memory lane with a tour of the old home place once occupied by Morton and Mable Upshaw.  They scrambled up bluffs that may have had a hidden panther den long ago and where grapevine swings out into the air provided plenty of excitement.  There was also talk of a search for water one time—aided by dynamite.  Internet pictures and videos of the outing sent waves of nostalgia through extended family members.  Other day trippers paused for lunch at the Vanzant Country Store where River cooked up some excellent burgers and curly fries and had genuine ginger ale on hand to wash it down.  Neighborhood changes may be turning this thriving interim enterprise into “River’s Bistro.”  Bravo!

        Oklahoma neighbor Woody Guthrie had a sign on his old guitar that said, “This Machine Kills Fascists!”  Scotland’s Bobbie Nicholson has adopted the slogan and it is a good one.  A friend recently posted, “Not voting is not rebellion; it is surrender.”  Whatever your views, the voting franchise has been hard won and hard maintained.  So much is at stake.  Participate!  “This land is your land, this land is my land from California to”… Champion!  Looking on the Bright Side!


October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014

CHAMPION—October 20, 2014

        Autumn’s hues and migrating birds are conspiring to make Champion a brilliant place.  Add the colorful locals to the mix for a winning combination.  Prowlers along the country lanes are rewarded with postcard views around every turn and random high spots reveal distant vistas to remember.

        The Fall Festival at the Skyline School was a great success.  Look for pictures in the papers.  Queen Morgan Whitaker and King Waylon Moon were attended by Princess Hailey Hall and Prince Zackary Coon–the royal court having been elected by the school community.  The event was organized to help the school clubs and the school foundation raise funds for their various activities this fall, as well as an outlet for some prekindergarten to eighth grade seasonal energy.  There were some great bargains at the auction and Joy Beeler won the chili cook off.  Pie contest judges are thinking to make pies themselves next year so as to be eliminated as judges.  Some kind person made a generous $50.00 donation toward the water fountain project.  The fruit jar on the counter at Henson’s G & G is also getting some good attention toward that goal.  Drinking lots of clean water (delivered by a safe, hygienic drinking fountain) is one of those good-health lessons that benefit children for their lifetime.  Clean water and wellness cannot be separated.

        The first Tuesday of each month, the Douglas County Health Department comes to the school from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. to do free blood pressure readings for anyone in the community.  The last Tuesday of the month, the 28th, Angela Souder of the DCHD will be in Champion from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.  She sets up back in the meeting room of the Historic Emporium and does free blood presser checks.  She can give you a reading of your body mass index—a very sophisticated diagnostic tool that helps identify health risks.  Angela can also test you for carbon monoxide.  She may be bringing a ‘lung age’ machine this time to evaluate the health of your lungs.  It is a good service to the area.

        Drayson Cline shares his birthday (August 23rd) with his great grand-father, Charlie Cline.  Now he has to share is great-grandfather with a new little brother.  Carson Krider Cline arrived on Saturday the 18th and came in at seven pounds plus.  So Kalyssa and Foster Wiseman, Teagan Krider, Eli and Emmy Oglesby and Dillon and Dakota Watts now have a new first cousin.  Madelyn and Shelby Ward have a new distant cousin (grandmother’s sister’s grandchildren) and the briar patch that is the community family tree has a welcome new addition.  Champion!

        Breauna (Teagan’s mom) Krider will share her birthday on the 24th with Sandy Chapin, who is the grandfather of a young guy named Atticus Umba Fowler.  October 25th is the birthday of Roger Miller.  He was born in 1936, and died in 1992.  He was responsible for a great deal of wonderful music including “Dang Me” and “King of the Road.”  Everyone has his favorite Roger Miller song.  Mishbucha, Brian Oglesby and Harley Krider share the 26th as their birthday.  Now the distant Champion is older than a lot of people in the neighborhood again so he can enjoy their deference and respect once more.  Nicolas Georges is a preschool student at Skyline.  His birthday is the 28th of October.  Royce Henson and Connie Lansdown share October 30th and will have big family celebrations to mark their birthdays.  Two fifth grade students, Kimberly Carder and Cheyenne Hall, have Halloween birthdays.  They can share the day with Skyline Superintendent Jeannie Curtis.  Happy birthday, ladies, and “Boo!”  Austin friend, Felipe Heston, celebrates his birthday on Halloween too.  Felicidades, compadre!

        The Vanzant Community building is a busy place. The bluegrass jams on Thursdays are lovely—pot luck at 6:00 and music, music, music.  The Dobbs Family reunion will be there and will start at 11:00 a.m. on the 25th.  Laine Sutherland posted that folks should bring their own table service and drinks along with their potluck contribution as well as their photos and stories of the Dobbs and associated families to share.  On the 8th the Eastern Douglas County Fire Department will have its chili supper and auction there.  It is a nice place.  Betty Thomas reported that the East Dogwood School Reunion was a pleasant affair on Saturday over at the Evansdale Church.  Fred Follis had printed up a bunch of old songs, cartoons and poetry from his era of schooling there and it was most interesting.  She said there was not any singing, but a fine dinner, some good photographs taken and old acquaintances renewed.  Betty is still resting up from the Pioneer Gathering—a well-deserved rest.

        Legendary water researcher, author and emissary for peace, Dr. Masaru Emoto, passed away on Friday.  He was only 71.  That now seems young to some people who are approaching that age.  His documented research has shown that thoughts, words, emotions, prayer, and music have a direct effect on water-crystal formation, and since our bodies and our planet are mostly water, our thoughts and words affect not only ourselves, but also the world around us.  For over 30 years he shared his message of the power of Love and Gratitude in creating peace on our planet through his understanding of water’s true nature.  Many people in this area live here because of the quality of the water.  The old timers who migrated in from Kentucky and Tennessee settled near the rivers, creeks and springs.  Arrowhead and artifact collectors can attest to indigenous peoples having lived near these waters in centuries past.  The community is working toward providing clean, fresh drinking water for the school children.  Others are putting forth effort to bringing last August’s Amendment 1 back to the ballot, since the wording on the ballot did not reflect the content and intent of the amendment, and water quality may hang in the balance.  As Susan Needham conveyed in her letter, as few as 22% of the registered voters may show up for a given election and therefore as few as 11.1% of registered voters can control the outcome of elections that can affect the lives of everyone.  It takes some effort to become informed and good information is not always in the easiest place to find it.  Believe what people tell you or find out for yourself, but participate.  That way you will have the right to gripe if things do not go your way.  If they do go your way, it will be because you had a hand in it.  If you find out later that your way was the wrong way, you’ll be glad if it lost, and admonished if it won.

        Take that Sunday drive any day of the week down to the broad beautiful banks of Old Fox Creek.  The foliage is magnificent.  The broad veranda of the Recreation of the Historic Emporium provides a perfect perch for viewing and a suitable spot for visiting with friends and neighbors on a lovely fall day.  Sing Roger Miller’s “You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you’ve a mind to!” in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014

CHAMPION—October 13, 2014

        On her way to Champion Sunday afternoon a local resident found herself following a slow moving pick up.  At a discreet distance, she enjoyed the leisureliest trip to Champion she has had, apart from the few times she walked it and the few times she rode the wagon train in the other direction.  Anyway, it was a beautiful outing and she was reminded that it is good to slow down sometimes on a day nice enough to have the windows open.  Some trees change colors from the top down and some sumac starts out red and turns purple. The recent rains have brought up some enormous mushrooms.  At last the truck reached the pavement and it turned west up WW, still in Sunday driver mode.  Bow season is on already and rural residents are accustomed to the deliberate pace of camouflaged country cruisers.  It would be nice if they came during the week to contribute to the local economy and would be even nicer if they took their litter with them.  Who, though, could blame anyone for wanting an unhurried trip through Champion?

        Betty and Dale Thomas had three to four thousand people come down to their place on Saturday and Sunday last.  They came from all over Missouri, from Colorado, Arizona, California, Indiana, Illinois, Montana, Texas, Tennessee, Idaho, Louisiana and China.  Phyllis Swafford brought the exchange student from China and reports are that she and everyone else had a marvelous time at the 13th Annual Pioneer Descendant’s Gathering.  The music and food and demonstrations were all top notch.  Betty said they had twelve primitive camps this year and that the Sunday service up at the pavilion was very well attended.  One of the muzzle loader guys, Don Stafford of Gainesville, won the lovely hand quilted buffalo quilt.  He came in second behind Ed Paterka in the shooting, but first in the quilt.  It was a lot of fun and a lot of work for Betty and Dale to organize it all.  They had some volunteers to help close things up and put things away afterwards.  Planning is already underway for next year.  It really is an excellent gift to the area and Champion friends hope it will continue for years to come.  Among the authors attending this year were Cinita Brown of Ava, Vincent Anderson of Gainesville and David Allen Durer of Forsyth.  More than these complimentary words will be written about the gathering.

        The fruit jar on the counter at the Recreation of the Historic Emporium over on the North Side of the Square is steadily gathering funds to help the Skyline R2 School Foundation buy new, modern water coolers for the school.  The existing drinking fountains were original equipment when the school was built back in the 1950’s.  Some of the students attending Skyline back then are great-grandparents now.  Many of them will be at the Skyline Fall Festival on Friday where there will be fun and food and games for all.  There will be a live auction of some of the fine student art work and a variety of items donated by local businesses and individuals.  It will be a great evening—6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and the weather looks like it will be perfect for a family outing.

        A new Skyline alumnus grandson, Ryden Alen Coon, came in at 6 pounds 2 ounces and arrived on October 11.  His happy parents are Laurie and Randy Coon.  His grandparents are getting lots of attention from family and friends.  He has great-grandparents too—lucky kid.  Joe Moskaly has his birthday on the 15th of October and his charming neighbor, Darlene Connor, celebrates on the 18th.  Donna Moskaly enjoys her birthday on the 20th and shares it with Betty Swain of Mansfield.  Betty is a consummate bridge player, somewhat past 90 now, a great fan of the no-trump bid.  Marty Watts has his birthday on the 20th also.  Lonnie Krider is reported to have said he should have shot Marty the first time he came walking up the driveway.  He wound up marrying the elder Krider daughter and taking her off to Tennessee.  Cyanna Davis is in the 4th grade at Skyline.  Her birthday is also on the 20th.  The next day is given over to remembrances of Anna Henson.  She kept a close eye on Champion business and was famous for her memory.  Her sense of humor was such that if a person were buying a Snicker, they would get another one with a smile from Anna.  Kindergarten student, Haylee Surface, 7th grader Talia Mancia and Skyline’s cook, Ms. Beth, all share the 22nd as their special day.  It’ll be a Wednesday, so there will be fun at school that day.  Peanut Teagan–Supergirl’s mom, Breauna Krider, will celebrate her birthday on the 24th.  Breauna’s brother-in-law, Bryan Ogelsby, and her uncle-in-law, Harley Krider, share the 26th as their birthday.  Harley is feeling better these days according to his family, so much so that he has sent word to tease certain Champions that they are now as old as he is…just until Sunday.  His friends wish him and the lovely Barbara great day.

        Wilma Hutchison organized another good photo of Bud’s Fall Trail Ride.  She got the riders all lined up in front of Henson’s Grocery and Gas for a shot before they took off on their ride Wednesday.  Bud said that they all had much enjoyed the ride and the good company.  This time he was joined by Hershel Letsinger, Dale Lawson, Doran Coberly, Bob Wheeler, Larry Warrick, Don Hamby and Frank Williams.  Wilma’s picture will be in the papers one of these days and readers will be able to see what fun looks like on horseback.  Minnie Jo (Lorett) Henson was down at the Pioneer Gathering with Royce and said that she would send “Walk of Ages” pictures to The Champion News.  They have arrived and soon people will be able to go to www.championnews.us to see what fun looks like afoot.  Stay tuned.

        Columbus Day is called Indigenous People’s Day in some places these days and some people do not like it.  History is written by the winners and the truth of the past takes some effort to discern and may be so blurred through different perspectives as to be unfindable.  Recently some high school students have protested that history courses are being altered to reflect a more tranquil, less volatile recent past of the country than actual facts portray.  If the Nation appears more orderly, dissent is less likely, dissent being one of the best aspects of democracy.  It is easy to create the perception that our actions are always ethical and honorable, while those of our opponents are always unethical and dishonorable.  Jesse David Ing, big time Hollywood producer and frequent childhood visitor to Champion, said “If the 99% voted they would get what they want.”  He is a clever fellow.  In a letter to the editor October 7, 2010, Susan Needham wrote, “Change is a naturally occurring event; the most you can hope for is to steer it in the right direction.”  The deadline to register to vote for the November 4th election was October 8th.  Those registered already are encouraged to be informed and to participate in the process.  Those not registered are encouraged to do so and to join in the steering.

        Steer through the Missouri Earthquake Drill this week.  “This Island Earth” is a song adopted by The OACC folks as an anthem:  “Calling all dreamers and optimistic fools.  Don’t let go of your dream.  Make it now, make it all come true.  If you believe in a brighter day, I know we can find our way…” to Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014

CHAMPION—October 6, 2014

        Champion pumpkins are frost free and ready for the season…ready to be turned into jack-o-lanterns and pies and lattes.  They will be sitting around being decorous on bales of hay or next to dried corn shocks and chrysanthemums.  Some will stand alone on the porch and be all the decoration the changing season needs.  Some will wind up as chicken feed and some will have their seeds roasted for snacks.  Champion Pumpkin!

        See what children can do with pumpkins at the Skyline Fall Festival on the 17th of October.  That is a week from Friday. There will be lots of fun and games for the whole family.  The school and the Skyline R2 School Foundation have a big push on to collect some funds to replace the aging water fountains in the school.  All you alumni, here about and far-flung, and residents of the school district, past and present, are invited to participate in the upgrade.  Cool, clean water for the kids seems like a worthwhile project.  Come to the Fall Festival, Friday, October 17th, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., or contact the school to find out how you can help. 

        Angela Souder grew up in Romance and works for Douglas County Health Department.  She will be in Champion from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. on the last Tuesday of each month doing blood pressure checks.  She can give you a reading of your body mass index and she can test you for carbon monoxide.  She may be bringing a ‘lung age’ machine with her next time.  It is a device that can evaluate the health of your lungs.  It is free and a great service to the eastern areas of the county to have this assistance to help people take a more active part in maintaining their own good health and Champions appreciate the attention.  The Health Department offers free blood pressure readings at Skyline School on the first Tuesday of each month from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.

            Crystal Miller in grew up in Brixey.  Her family ran the store there for many years.  Todd Miller had the good fortune to win her heart and they have been making beautiful music together for a long time now.  He plays the banjo and Crystal plays the standup bass and sings.  She has a beautiful clear voice.  When you see “Hunter Creek” on the playbill, that is Todd and Crystal, together with some other nice folks.  To illustrate how quickly time flies, their son Eli is now twelve years old.  Crystal has recently had back surgery and is in Cox Hospital.  Her family and friends are sending her their prayers and best wishes for a good outcome and a speedy recovery.  Crystal Miller, Rt. 5 Box 590, Ava, MO 65608 is the address for well-wishers to send those cards and notes of encouragement.  She grew up in Brixey, lives over on Hunter Creek, but she is a real Champion.

        A note came from Pete Proctor saying his birthday is in February.  Champion Birthday Records show it to be on the 18th of that month.  The report of a recent birthday for him proved to be a ‘test’ just to see if he really reads The Champion News.  Good job, Pete!

        In all the excitement several birthdays have slipped by unnoticed.  Who could have imagined that former President Jimmy Carter might share a birthday with a Prominent Champion?  The President is now 90 years old.  The Champion is younger but shares many of the laudable traits of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.  They are both accomplished wood workers, both civic minded with oversight to democratic elections.  Mr. Carter observes elections in developing nations around the world.  They also fancy well turned out brunettes and good home cooking.  They are organizers, delegators, good citizens, neighbors and friends.  Some have differing ideas about whether Mr. Carter was a ‘good president,’ but none can dispute he is a good man.  Meanwhile The General, another good man, has been hosting dinners, parties, picnics, peanut butter ice cream socials and assorted shenanigans in observance of various birthdays of his kinfolks.  His mother-in-law, Lucile Gayman, got the full treatment according to Shirley Squitiero who reported that the family had made a big wonderful deal of her Mother’s birthday.  Then came the double wingding of his sisters’ birthday.  Elizabeth Johnston and Tanna Wiseman did what they could to make it a surprise but their mothers found out and attended anyway.  Friends and family poured in from Springfield, Elkland, Drury, Champion and other places in a throng of about thirty to wish the Upshaw twins a happy day.  Eva (Coon) Clark has a birthday coming up on the 14th.  She grew up in Champion and broke hearts around the country.  She became a nurse and recently made a trip to Eastern Europe with the Doctors Without Borders.  She worked in Albania, Macedonia and Germany and found it to be a great experience.  More recently she helped Gary celebrate his birthday on the 3rd and/or the 6th.  She has grandchildren who were birthday shopping for her down at the Pioneer Gathering.  Birthday excitement is Champion.

        The Pioneer Descendant’s Gathering was another splendid event.  Saturday morning started out pretty cold for the campers there, but the day warmed up as the steady stream of visitors poured trough.  The stage coach and wagon rides were very popular as were all the demonstrations of the various crafts and skills of times past.  Friends who only see each other at this event were well met.  The music was sublime as so many area talents came out to share their gifts.  A Prominent Girlfriend, one of those well turned out brunettes, made her singing debut with “You Say it Best When You Say Nothing At All.”  Applause! Brava! Champion!

        A reader wished to call TCN to task for plagiarism, having said, “The power of willful ignorance cannot be overstated.”  The reader was right, that string of words had been lifted from an on-line narrative about industrial animal production back during the debate of the so called “Right to Farm” amendment.  It was an anonymous positing, so no credit was given to the author.  Dr. Joe Dispenza, prominent neuroscientists, says, “In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.”  George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”  Another anonymous person says that we are attached to what we know.  Liberals and Conservatives alike must now contend with another powerful group drawing activist from both sides.  These are the Selfservatives—another bit of selective lifting.

        Linda’s Almanac can be found on the bulletin board at Henson’s Grocery and Gas over on the North Side of the Square in Downtown Champion.  It is also on line at www.championnews.us and on the counter at The Plant Place over in Norwood.  There is good information there about when to prune to discourage or to encourage growth.  It says that the 16th to the 18th will be good days to harvest crops.  The weather forecast looks good for a frost free period until then.  Hopes are that Bud Hutchison’s Fall Trail Ride will be rain free on Wednesday.  There will be folks out on the spacious veranda at the Historic Emporium to see them off about ten that morning and to welcome them home in the mid afternoon.  Happy trails, fellers!  Friends following the adventures of J.C. Owsley imagine him singing, “I ride an Old Paint, I lead Old Dan. I’m off to Cheyenne to do the hoolihan.”  He’s been off to Old Jeff lately, doing good work for far thinkers and his efforts are lauded by Champions—Looking on the Bright Side!